Henry and Lord Marcos entered a wrecked building. No lights, dirt and insects everywhere. Not a soul to be found. Lord Marcos lit a match and led the way through a narrow staircase into a highway. The walls were painted full with graffiti, the ground was pampered with garbage, and small rodents got scared away by the new incomers and hid in a small hole to the right. “Sir Marcos, there’s no one here. No one’s been here in a long time from what I can piece together”. Henry´s initial assessment seemed correct. The place was decrepit, abandoned. Only rats and ants inhabited the complot. “Yes. No one’s visited in a while… That’s good. He´ll want to talk”.
Lord Marcos looked around and focused his eyesight on a small weathered brick lying on the floor. His royalty examined the brick with precision, only to toss it aside saying: “Not this one”. Henry was amused by his highness looking around garbage and weathered construction rigs in a decrepit environment like this. If only he could picture this moment he thought. It wasn´t until the royal bowlness himself found another weathered brick lying on the ground that shook the cereal bowl to it´s sugary core. “It’s this one!”, exclaimed Lord Marcos. The bowl of cereal removed the jacket sitting on top of his roundish head, and held the brick high in the air. “Uh.. Sir, that’s just a brick”,
“Just a brick you say! But take a look at this!” replied Lord Marcos as he swiftly shoved the brick close to Henry’s face. At first Henry saw nothing, but at last, he saw a small engraving on the corner of the right side of the brick. A small inscription. A symbol of some sort. “It’s real”, whispered Lord Marcos to himself. “After all this time, she was right…” His royal highness took a strong hold of an enrolled piece of parchment sitting on his belt, while a victorious smile sat on his face. Henry wondered what the parchment could contain. “Step back Henry”, told his majesty to the commoner bowl of cereal. “We are in for a treat.”
Lord Marcos stepped close to a brick wall at the far end of the room. The wall was weathered, old. Broken in a few pieces, but with a distinctive hole where a brick is missing. Lord Marcos placed the orange brick with the inscription in the hole of the wall, and stepped back with caution. Nothing happened. “Sir… maybe we should find a place to rest. We haven’t slept much and it could affect…”
“Quiet!” Yelled a disgruntled Lord Marcos. “Can’t you hear that?”
Henry paid close attention, and it seemed that a low rumbling noise could be heard in the distance. The rumbling sound got lowder and lowder. “Yes! Yes”, exclaimed Lord Marcos. Henry could not understand what was going on, for a blue shadow now emanated from the back of the bricks in the wall, illuminating the room with a deep blue essence. Suddenly, the graving between the bricks in the wall shone a bright blue, and with a loud bang, the bricks of the wall crumbled to the ground, revealing a hidden entrance. Lord Marcos took an elegant step inward the dark room while warning Henry to watch his head.
The room in which the bowls of cereal had just entered, was unlike the kinds Henry had ever seen. Weird objects floated in dense liquids inside flasks and tubes. To the right, an entire shelf containing different skulls of animals and people. Down the dark hall, a black desk filled with spider webs and dust rested neatly while a small door could be observed in the back. “Follow me,” Lord Marcos told Henry. The two bowls of cereal approached the black desk, and Lord Marcos extended his royal finger to ring a bell. As soon as the bell was rung, a crack, and distant clambering noises coming from inside the room behind the desk could be heard. Someone clearly was not expecting visitors. Suddenly, and almost frightening, the door opened itself, gnashing on its swivel. For a moment, Henry thought he was going insane, for he could swear he saw emanating from the room, in the shadows of the wooden wall, a monstrous creature, with a crooked back, fangs roaring out of his mouth, horns a top of his head, and leatherous wings opening like a bird seeming for a flight. But as soon as the mysterious figure revealed itself from the shadows, it turned out to be a simple bald man, with a rather unpleasant large and botched nose, with an untrustworthy smirk on his mouth. The small man had a large hunchback below his neck, for our mysterious figure´s back was as crooked as they come. The hunchback man approached the desk, and after growling and spitting on the floor, with a rusty voice he spoke: “Found anything you want?”
“I’m not buying anything, Merchant…”, the crooked man looked over the desk to take a glance at the not be customers of his ungodly store. The bald, dirty man opened his eyes wide and absorbed entirely the two bowls of cereal. “So it’s true… They’ve garnered the essence…” exclaimed the Merchant, “But as expected… They don´t understand it…”
“Essence? What essence?” asked Henry. “Quiet,” replied Lord Marcos. “Comical… still in the blue… ”, the merchant opened a small door to the left of his tall desk, which allowed him to enter the same ground floor of the store, the two bowls of cereal were on. “Let me take a closer look at you…” proclaimed the Merchant, as he approached Henry in a malefic way. “Yes… Yes… your rich, powerful milk… It’s already calling me… Telling me… It should be mine!” The merchant launched at Henry with a small frask aimed at his bowlish head, only to be fashionably stopped and smacked hard in the face by Lord Marcos’ elegant walking stick. “Back away Henry, Merchant you play nice”
“So tell me… Lord Marcos” said the Merchant in a mocking voice, “when are you planning to fill your boy in?”
“He has the required information he needs”, answered his bowlish majesty.
“Yeah right… whatever you say… your majesty… or whatever you call yourselves nowadays…”
“Uh… Sir, do you know this man?” asked a naive Henry, confused by the entire situation.
“Not much, I’ve only met him once before… with my mother”. Henry´s eyes got wider by the second. This could probably be the only time Lord Marcos has mentioned his mother in quite some time.
“Uh Uh… what a pity there eh…” laughed the Merchant.
Lord Marcos smacked his cane on the Merchant´s foot, only to say lighty “My mistake, like I was saying Merchant, we are not buying anything… We are selling”. Lord Marcos took his hand inside his jacket in search of something. He removed his hand from his jacket revealing a purple pouch, tight with a golden rope. “This should be sufficient compensation for what we seek”. The Merchant swiftly unravelled the pouch only to reveal a green luminescent, shining brightly from it. The merchant´s smile got wider and wider.
“So… Lord Marcos… what do you seek” said the Merchant, in a now, more professional tone.
“Tell me where I can find the Zephyr”
The Merchant was taken aback by Lord Marcos´s request. “The Zephyr… “ said the Merchant, “where to begin?”. The merchant stood up from the ground and entered the confines of his tall desk once again. “What you seek has been the downfall of braver and stronger men than yourself… And most importantly… “
“No one has ever found it”, interrupted Lord Marcos, “I know”
“Sir… if I may, what is Zephyr?” asked an even more confused Henry.
The Merchant laughed mischievously as he opened his arms wide like a bird and later said: “The Zephyr… The Hidden Artifact… The Holy Grail… Many names and alterations it has had through the years… Many think of it as a source of great wealth… power… even… immortality…” The Merchant placed both of his hands on the desk once again and continued: “Yet no one realized it was none of those things… For it’s nothing more than a pesky key…”
“A key? Then… what does it open?” asked a curious Henry. “No one knows… for no one has ever found it… Yet I’m sure your friend knows what to do with the Zephyr due to that map of his…”
Lord Marcos took a step back and took a sharp hold of the piece of parchment lying on his belt. “Enough of this!” Yelled Lord Marcos, “Tell me where to find it” demanded his majesty.
The crooked, bald merchant swiveled on his high chair and took a nasty glance at Lord Marcos. “You really think you can find it? Don´t you?” asked the Merchant in a malefic tone, “And what could you possibly do with it?”
“That’s not of your concern” answered Lord Marcos defiantly.
“Well well…” The Merchant raised his right palm and layed it in the air as if he was holding something. Suddenly, in an impossible way, a small blue gem started to float in the palm of the Merchant´s hand. “Ahh the Zephyr… The only instructions to finding the missing jewel is only… a riddle”. The Merchant took a mouthful of air and continued. “Drowned through the ages and the ripples of time, the oldest family lights the first match. Warned be those who feel greater than they are, for the one who gushes will be dispatched. Neither of the lands won’t deny those who seek a bridge to pass, for those of you brave for glory, please answer my call”
“That’s it?” asked a frustrated Lord Marcos.
“Yes,” the merchant answered coldly.